24 Aug 2022 – Posted by Robert Dick
Throughout the Summer of 2022, I worked as an intern for Doyensec. I’ll be describing my experience with Doyensec in this blog post so that other potential interns can decide if they would be interested in applying.
The Recruitment Process
The recruitment process began with a non-technical call about the internship to make introductions and exchange more information. Once everyone agreed it was a fit, we scheduled a technical challenge where I was given two hours to provide my responses. I enjoyed the challenge and did not find it to be a waste of time.
After the technical challenge, I had two technical interviews with different people (Tony and John). I thought these went really well for questions about web security, but I didn’t know the answers to some questions about other areas of application security I was less familiar with. Since Doyensec performs assessments of non-web applications as well (mobile, desktop, etc.), it made sense that they would ask some questions about non-web topics.
After the final call, I was provided with an offer via email.
As an intern, my time was divided between working on an internal training presentation, conducting research, and performing security assessments.
Creating the training presentation allowed me to learn more about a technical topic that will probably be useful for me in the future, whether at Doyensec or not. I used some of my research time to learn about the topic and make the presentation. My presentation was on the advanced features of Semgrep, the open-source static code analysis tool. Doyensec often has cross-training sessions where members of the team demonstrate new tools and techniques, or just the latest “Best Bug” they found on an engagement.
Conducting research was a good experience as an intern because it allowed me to learn more about the research topic, which in my case was Electron and its implementation of web API permissions. Don’t worry too much about not having a good research topic of your own already – there are plenty of things that have already been selected as options, and you can ask for help choosing a topic if you’re not sure what to research. My research topic was originally someone else’s idea.
My favorite part of the internship was helping with security assessments. I was able to work as a normal consultant with some extra guidance. I learned a lot about different web frameworks and programming languages. I was able to see what technologies real companies are using and review real source code. For example, before the internship, I had very limited experience with applications written in Go, but now I feel mostly comfortable testing Go web applications. I also learned more about mobile applications, which I had limited experience with. In addition to learning, I was able to provide actionable findings to businesses to help reduce their risk. I found vulnerabilities of all severities and wrote reports for these with recommended remediation steps.
Should You Become an Intern?
When I was looking for an internship, I wanted to find a role that would let me learn a lot. Most of the other factors were low-priority for me because the role is temporary. If you really enjoy application security and want to learn more about it, this internship is a great way to do that. The people at Doyensec are very knowledgeable about a wide variety of application security topics, and are happy to share their knowledge with an intern.
Even though my priority was learning, it was also nice that the work is performed remotely and with flexible hours. I found that some days I preferred to stop work at around 2-3 PM and then continue in the night. I think these conditions are desirable to anyone, not just interns.
As for qualifications, Doyensec has stated that the ideal candidate:
- Already has some experience with manual source code review and Burp Suite / OWASP ZAP
- Learns quickly
- Should be able to prepare reports in English
- Is self-organized
- Is able to learn from his/her mistakes
- Has motivation to work/study and show initiative
- Must be communicative (without this it is difficult to teach effectively)
- Brings something to the mix (e.g., creativity, academic knowledge, etc.)
My experience before the internship consisted mostly of bug bounty hunting and CTFs. There are not many other opportunities for college students with zero experience, so I had spent nearly two years bug hunting part-time before the internship. I also had the OSWE certification to demonstrate capability for source code review, but this is definitely not required (they’ll test you anyway!). Simply being an active participant in CTFs with a focus on web security and code review may be enough experience. You may also have some other way of learning about web security if you don’t usually participate in CTFs.
I enjoyed my internship at Doyensec. There was a good balance between learning and responsibility that has prepared me to work in an application security role at Doyensec or elsewhere.
If you’re interested in the role and think you’d make a good fit, apply via our careers page: https://www.careers-page.com/doyensec-llc. We’re now accepting candidates for the Fall Internship 2022.